Sorcerers need many ghosts to work for them to replenish those ghosts lost during magical operations. So on a periodical basis normally twice a month, they would need to ‘recruit’ these spirits in the field. The favourite place is normally in an old battlefield, near road junctions, in places where many fatalities occurred or in the wilderness. Usually all types of ghosts can be recruited except the drowned ghost and ghosts related to fire incidents. Of course, it is practically impossible to isolate which one died in fire or which one was drowned. As a rule of thumb, if the intention of a sorcerer is not to call up a group of ghosts ‘specific’ to fire or water incidents; then it should be okay. Generally speaking, all established sorcerers must have some ‘overseer’ spirits to supervise and remove undesirable spirits in the group.
There is a very important lesson learnt from my fellow senior Taiwanese sorcerer whom I would like to identify as Ah Boon. Boon has been doing noodle production business since he took over his dad’s business many years ago. He settled in Penang after married a local lady and he travelled between Penang and Taiwan to look after his businesses. From outside people know him as a successful businessman but within the sorcerer circle, he is a master magician specialised in ghost magics.
Since I knew Boon pretty well, so we did have some sharing about ghost magic previously. I knew Boon has a 5 legionnaire army altar (五营坛) set up in a special room in his factory. This altar is so secretive that even his wife was not allowed to enter. Boon made two offerings to his 5 legionnaire army with raw meat and animal internal organs twice a month. Perhaps Boon’s spiritual army did work for him and his business grew rapidly across two places.
Perhaps some of us would still recall the Tsunami in Southeast Asia which has taken thousands of lives during the end of 2004. It so happened that Boon’s business wasn’t doing so good during that particular year and he has got some cash flow problems. At that time, Boon was trying every method to improve his business and out of the blues; he suddenly has an urge to recruit some vengeful ghosts from the field. It is an unwritten rule of thumb that the best spirit to work with is the one who died in a horrific incident. So if there is a massive casualty, then the place is where a sorcerer should go to get the spirits.
After some thoughts, Boon decided to go to Tanjung Bunga beach to perform the ghost conjuration ritual. He invited me but I was performing my Yamantaka retreat so Boon invited another fellow sorcerer instead. One month lapsed and I didn’t hear any news from Boon until one day I was having a bowl of curry noodle in Relau that I met with the sorcerer, Beng who accompanied Boon to perform the spirit conjuration ritual.
When Beng saw me, he immediately pulled a stool and sat beside me. Before I could open my mouth, Beng started the conversation:
Beng: “Did you know what had happened to Boon?”
I was busy munching my mouthful of noodles, so I shook my head. So Beng continued to say: “Boon is now having bad luck and he suffers from renal edima (肾水肿) and some skin diseases (皮肤病). His body is swelling until he couldn’t walk. Looks like the ritual has done more harm to Boon.” Then Beng looked at me for some comments.
After I emptied my mouthful of noodles, I raised my head and look into Beng’s eyes: “Leeks pay Boon a visit.”
So, Beng agreed and off we go to Boon’s place. His wife, Mary came to greet us. At this point, I smelt very strong odour of salted fish and I asked:
“Aunty, are you making salted fish too in your factory?”
Mary: “No lah. If you meant the smell, it has been in the factory a month ago. I will get Beng for you.”
After a few minutes, Boon came out to greet us. Both of us were surprised at his appearance as Boon looked just like a swollen bread soaked in water for a little too long.
Me: “Aiya Boon! If you want to be thrifty, you shouldn’t eat only bread and drink plain tap water! Look like you, you look just like what you ate!”
Boon: “Don’t joke at me please. Since you are here, can you see what has happened to me and my place?”
Me: “Joke aside. You looked just like some who has drowned for days!”
Boon: “Perhaps it is the doing of all those drown ghosts in my altar. I am too weak to do the ritual; can you help?”
Me: “Simple. Ask your overseer spirits to send them away then, plant some fast growing plants and keep your factory brightly lit for one month.”
Beng and I quickly left Boon’s place as the salted fish odour was so strong that almost suffocated us.
Two weeks later, Boon gave me a call and it seems like most of his symptoms were gone and his doc apologized for his misdiagnosis. But we all know that it wasn’t the doc’s fault. Had Boon not sent off all the drown ghosts he summoned, he could die of real physical illnesses.
This is a real lesson learnt that some ghosts are best to be kept at a distance; and that one should not perform ghost magic alone. For no matter how good we are; we would need someone to look over our shoulders! This is the real reason why I am not doing ghost magic anymore; there are just too difficult to find real experts around these days.